Sugar for dinner
I was going to cook beef with vegetables. Or some nice chicken. But I've been bored with making dinners. Because of a variety of issues, I haven't done any baking for the holidays. I wasn't about to make challah at dinner time, but a nice honey cake would be useful. Company is coming. Or a spice cake. I couldn't decide, so maybe a honey spice cake? I found a recipe that had it all. But then I was feeding Wubby, my whole wheat sourdough starter and barely had room in my overflow discard jar. I usually use discard for waffles, but waffles aren't really a Summer thing (yeah, I know about waffles with ice cream, but that's different waffles). My main discard jar was striated with white and whole wheat, but plenty of white. Lightbulb moment! Sourdough cake.
The last time I used sourdough discard in a cake I made the mistake of using a recipe. I don't need a recipe to bake a cake. I got the one for the honey spice cake to make sure I'd use enough spice to have the flavor come through, which is an experience kind of thing. The discard started with 70-80% hydration, but it had thrown off plenty of hooch so had less liquid than that. In fact, it was almost claylike in the lower layers. I decided to just use it one for one for the flour, but remove the water from the cup of coffee in the recipe (I used instant in the alcohol). As soon as I ran it in the mixer with the white sugar, it loosened up totally. No more clay. In the end, it seemed too wet, so I added a big scoop of white AP. I also thought that the wet batter would be better in layer pans rather than the tradition loaf or ring. That worked great, though I should have used wraps to limit doming.
The end result has sock you in the face flavor, though it's almost chocolaty tasting, rather than honey or spice. I did use mesquite honey, which is a lot stronger than clover (and what I had), and used the suggested coffee and Grand Marnier. It's not sour, but some of the intensity might be from the sourdough discard. It's really good, mind you. Just really strong.
Honey cakes aren't usually frosted, but I thought that might be a nice foil for the intense flavor, and since I had rounds anyway, why not? I put some of the raspberry jam I made for the princess cake a couple of months ago in the center, and substituted a spoon of the jam for the liquid in the decor frosting, making it pink and tasty. For the crumb coat, I used some orange juice and zest.
I should have chilled everything before trying to decorate. I'm really bad with pastry bags, and today was no exception. My first rosette was good. The rest was out of control. Doesn't matter. It tastes good. :) I'll try to get a picture tomorrow, after it's cut.
I never did make dinner, but I did eat cake scraps and frosting drips. :) We have salad and hard boiled eggs...